Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said that the The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee voted to prohibit sitting members from seeking public office. This version has been updated.
The Democratic Party of Maryland has long prioritized the party above the public interest. The latest manifestation of this gross abuse of the public trust revealed itself in a vote by the local party apparatus to yet again deny voters an opportunity to exercise their democratic right to self-determination. On Tuesday, the (MCDCC) voted to preempt the democratic process by prohibiting candidates from simultaneously running for seats on the MCDCC and any other elected office in government.
Notwithstanding that members of the Maryland General Assembly serve on Democratic Party Central Committees outside of Montgomery County, many of the individuals who voted for this measure have themselves never won the confidence of the voters at the ballot box. In fact, more than half of the MCDCC’s current members were appointed to the body, including all the officers. It is consequently no small wonder that they see merit in denying voters an opportunity to select their own representatives. The hypocrisy of their vote is appalling.
The MCDCC has appointed several members of the Montgomery delegation to either the Maryland House or Senate. Individuals who were appointed to the MCDCC in turn appointed themselves to the state legislature. Has the MCDCC has become a de-facto channel for bypassing popular election to get into the Maryland General Assembly?
As a result, turnover in this body is incredibly high as it is increasingly used only as a placeholder until a vacancy arises in the legislature. This happens with surprising frequency as various legislators become restless with and disinterested in continuing to serve in our heavily hierarchical, top-down legislature.
The votes of the three dozen individuals who sit on the MCDCC have drowned out the voices of the 1 million people in Montgomery County. Their votes indicate their contempt for Democratic voters in Montgomery County who are now being denied the opportunity to determine who, among the willing candidates, will represent them in their local Democratic Party.
This undermines popular participation in our elections. The Democratic Party in Maryland created some of the most gerrymandered congressional districts in the nation based on the presumption that having more Democrats elected to Congress is more important than providing Marylanders with free and fair elections.
The MCDCC desperately needs an overhaul of its leadership, its objectives and its platform. The Democratic Party should be inclusive and facilitate participation in our democracy. It has shown itself to be decidedly against popular participation in our electoral process and demonstrated its interest in measures that undermine our democracy.
Jordan Cooper is a Democratic candidate for state Delegate in the 16th District and a candidate for the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee in District 16.